Need a bit of help buying my a new acoustic...

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by failed_astronaut, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. failed_astronaut

    failed_astronaut Member

    Messages:
    126
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Hi folks, I thought I'd turn to the only sane resource I know for gear advice, TGP...

    So, I'm planning on buying a new acoustic. I figured I'd go for a semi-acoustic as the big band I'm in occasionally needs me to use one and it means I have any open mics/acoustic shows covered if they come up.

    I've been into my local shop and had a look around on line and I'm now havering between two guitars - aMartin 000X1AE and a Recording King RD17-CFE (I think that's the model).

    The Martin plays beautifully off the hook, really nice classic tone and the neck is very workable. Unfortunately, once plugged in, it gets very glassy and has that woolly treblyness that sounds like there's too much gain on the channel when there isn't. The on board Fishman unit only has Volume and Tone so the best I can do is roll off the highs on the guitar and juggle my amp or the PA settings.

    The Recording King is an equally nice player and benefits from a cutaway. It's naturally brighter and bigger sounding than the Martin as it's a bigger bodied guitar. It sounds good plugged too and has Bass, Mid, Treble, Brightness and Volume controls on the pre-amp. It's also £200 less than the Martin.

    I spent about 40 minutes going between both guitars today and I'm still not convinced although I think I'm swaying towards the RK but I want to try it with different strings. Have any of you ever asked the guitar store guys to re-string a guitar to help you decide whether you'd buy it or not? I'm pretty well known in the store and the worst they'd do is tell me to stop being a pest but I also don't want to put them out unnecessarily.

    If it helps, and for perspective, my only acoustic has been a Fender DG-17EM that I got when I started playing guitar 15 years ago. I've always liked it's sound (and just found out that it has a solid spruce top) but over the years the electrics have gone and the intonation is too shaky to rely on for gigs.

    Anyway, appreciate your thoughts.

    Cheers.
     
  2. martyncrew

    martyncrew Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,934
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    YES, this is a totally reasonable request especially if they know you in the store. Additionally, there's a good chance that if you have issues with the RK's strings so will other people so even if you don't buy the guitar, there's a good chance that changing strings will help the store sell it.
     
  3. JSeth

    JSeth Member

    Messages:
    2,140
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon... "Heart of the Valley"...
    If it's really down to those two, do (and ask) whatever you need to do to make the call...

    One determining factor, for me, would be if I was going to be playing the guitar PRIMARILY unplugged... in that case, I'd go for the best sounding guitar - given, of course, that the guitar has no defects that will prevent it from being set-up properly.

    I would ALWAYS get strings put on a guitar that I'm wanting to buy; a lot of times, depending on the shop, having a set-up included with the buying price can be accomplished... these guitars may be inexpensive enough that a set-up will NOT be included, however...

    Just so you know, I have heard great things about the Fishman Aura pedal, when used with under saddle transducers that 'quack" too much. It's a modeling pedal that, apparently, takes the quack out!

    Good luck, with whatever you decide... I'd probably go for a Martin, but I wouldn't be getting a dreadnought, either; not for "onstage' use, anyway...

    play on....................................>
     
  4. failed_astronaut

    failed_astronaut Member

    Messages:
    126
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Thanks guys, encouraging answers so far.

    Jsteph, when you say you'd not get a dreadnought for onstage use, would you get something smaller bodied instead?

    The aura pedal sounds great but if I'm paying for a better acoustic I don't want to shell out an extra couple of hundred on another bit of kit just to make it sound good.
     
  5. royd

    royd Member

    Messages:
    2,000
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I won't tell you how much extra I've spent to make my guitars sound good live :omg

    It's just the nature of the beast... a live acoustic sound is always a series of compromises between accuracy, complexity, expense, and feedback resistance. Only you can decide which set of compromises you can make. Cheap, feedback resistant, simple, and accurate just isn't possible.
     
  6. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    27,318
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    Based on the info I got below, it seems both have solid tops and laminate sides. The martin has a laminate neck (sorta) and the RK has a solid hog neck. Put that with the fact that your RK also sounds better to you, and I'd go with the RK.

    If the martin was USA made, i'd go with that, since resale would be great if you changed your mind, but at this point i'd go with the tone and playability and the materials and construction.


    --

    The "X" model guitars are some of the most unique in the Martin line. Made in Mexico, they have some special features. They have wood resin HPL (High Pressure Laminate) back and sides, Stratabond multi-piece necks, and solid spruce tops. The HPL body and Stratabond neck are each extremely durable. Their solid tops with hybrid bracing give them a great, full-bodied voice. These guitars are great values - built to last and fun to play.


    --
    Specifications

    MODEL:RD-17-CFEBODY SHAPE:Dreadnought CutawayTOP MATERIAL:Solid AA Grade Engelmann Spruce BACK MATERIAL:RosewoodSIDE MATERIAL:Rosewood TOP BRACING PATTERN:Forward X-BracingTOP BRACES:Fully Scalloped SpruceNECK MATERIAL:Mahogany NECK PROFILE:Contemporary CNECK JOINT:DovetailFRETBOARD MATERIAL:Rosewood

    Recording King is just one of the brands of TML/AXL. They're based out of California and do all of their manufacturing in China.

    http://www.axlmusic.com/aboutus.html

    Edit: I just found something that better defines the US/China relationship of AXL....

    AXL Musical Instrument Company was founded in 1993 by brothers Alan and Eric Liu, who have shared a love of music and musical instruments since childhood. After graduating from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Alan Liu, who plays violin, piano, guitar, and many other instruments, came to the U.S. to work on a master's degree in music composition. He remained here to establish AXL's U.S. headquarters in South San Francisco, where he serves as the company's chairman and CEO. Meanwhile, Eric Liu, vice-chairman and general manager, runs AXL's enormous operation in China, which includes a network of 18 manufacturing facilities and ships product directly from its base in Shanghai, China's largest seaport, to 136 countries worldwide. The company's name comes from Alan Liu's initials, A.X.L.

    The guitars are built in China.
    Greg Rich in involved with the company. Greg is best known for his ties to Gibson and later Blueridge.

    --
     
  7. failed_astronaut

    failed_astronaut Member

    Messages:
    126
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Folks, I know this thread went cold three months ago but I just wanted to update anyone who might be interested.

    Firstly, thanks for all the good advice, I knew TGP wouldn't let me down. I went with the Martin in the end as I really loved the unplugged sound, it's playability and deep down I wanted something that said "Martin" on the headstock. I've used it at a couple of big band gigs and I'll be using it regularly in my own quintet for some of the really old jazz stuff we do as a steady acoustic strum really makes the sound of those old swing songs.

    It's great to pick up at home and mess about on too.

    Here's a pic of it at our last quintet rehearsal.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/failed_astronaut/7254685604/

    I had the Martin running through the PA and my Peerless was going through the Peavey Valveking rather than the Marshall half stack!
     
  8. Jim Moulton

    Jim Moulton Member

    Messages:
    2,129
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    That is a nice guitar, glad you got the solid top version, They are nice looking guitars, they make them with that hpl laminate top too, to me those sound horrible, but the spruce top makes a big difference.

    Best Wishes,

    Jim
     
  9. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

    Messages:
    11,516
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2004
    Location:
    playing in traffic...
    Any acoustic you are considering for purchase, should be tried with 'your' brand of strings prior to a purchase.
     

Share This Page